President Barack Obama formally notified the U.S. Congress on
Monday that he had authorized air strikes and humanitarian airdrops
over the weekend in the Iraqi Shi’ite town of Amerli where Islamic
State militants had trapped the civilian population.
Iraqi security forces backed by Shi'ite militias on Sunday broke
the two-month siege of Amerli and entered the northern town after
the U.S. military carried out air strikes on militant positions and
delivered emergency supplies to residents there.
Obama said in a letter to congressional leaders he was notifying
Congress of his decision under the long-standing War Powers
Resolution, which gives presidents authorization for temporary
military action. The operation was launched on Saturday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday called on Ukraine to
immediately start talks on a political solution to the crisis in
Hours later, Ukraine said a border guard vessel operating in the
Azov Sea was attacked by land-based forces. Pro-Russian rebels have
recently opened a new offensive along the seacoast.
Putin's comment, made to national TV network Channel 1, said
Ukraine should "hold substantive, meaningful talks, not about
technical issues but about the question of the political
organization of society and statehood in southeast Ukraine, with
the goal of safeguarding the legitimate interests of those people
who live there."
Iraqi troops aided by U.S. airstrikes entered the besieged town
of Amerli Sunday, residents and Iraqi officials said, after a
months-long blockade by Islamic State militants that had surrounded
the Shiite Turkmen village and raised fears of an impending
“Amerli has been liberated,” said Mahdi Taqi, a local politician
and Amerli resident who was inside the town during the siege.
“There is so much joy and people are cheering in the streets.”
Jihadists had surrounded the town in June, preventing food and
other aid from reaching the population there. Residents had armed
themselves to fend off the militants, who have made sweeping gains
across the country in recent months, but critical supplies began to
A significant aftershock from last weekend's magnitude-6.0
earthquake has rattled Northern California's wine country.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude-3.2 tremor struck
five miles south of the city of Napa just before 2 a.m. Sunday.
Thomas Brocher, director of USGS' Earthquake Science Center,
says it wasn't the strongest aftershock to rumble the region since
the main quake a week ago caused as much as $1 billion in damage
and multiple injuries.
The European Union moved to slap tougher sanctions on Russia as
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said hundreds of
foreign tanks are operating in his country and pleaded for EU
"Ukraine now is a subject of foreign military aggression and
terror," Poroshenko told reporters in Brussels before a summit
today with leaders of EU member states. "Thousands of foreign
troops and hundreds of foreign tanks are now on the territory of
EU leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel,
British Prime Minister David Cameron and French
President Francois Hollande are meeting in Brussels to
elect a new president and foreign-policy chief of the 28-nation
bloc. They are also meeting with Poroshenko, who held talks
earlier today with EU President Herman Van Rompuy and
European Commission President Jose Barroso.
After protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, were met with a
militarized police force, new attention was brought to the
Pentagon's 1033 program, a program that supplies military-grade
equipment to local police departments, often for free. Check
out a commercial Reason TV has unearthed advertising the program to
The United States is not aware of any specific threat to the
U.S. homeland from Islamic State militants, the Department of
Homeland Security said on Friday after Britain raised its
international terrorism threat level.
Islamic State militants and their supporters, however, "have
demonstrated the intent and capability to target American citizens
overseas," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a
statement. He noted that DHS took steps over the summer to
strengthen security at overseas airports with direct flights to the
U.S. consumer spending fell in July for the first time in six
months, but confidence among households hit a seven-year high in
August, suggesting the retrenchment would be temporary.
Another report on Friday showed a sharp acceleration in factory
activity in the Midwest this month, a further sign the economy
remains on solid ground.
"The weakness in spending will quickly subside this fall as
consumer confidence is supported by record highs in the stock
market, rising housing prices and improving labor market
conditions," said Michael Woolfolk, global markets strategist
at BNY Mellon in New York.